Tag Archives: STEM

Back to the future: the secret world of BART

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Story and photo by Anthony Beron

It was a glimpse into the future of BART: its new, New Zealand-designed  40-mile an hour cable car that’ll zip riders to the Oakland Airport.

About 35 McClymonds’ STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students were treated to a behind-the scenes tour of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), along with a cameo on local TV news Tuesday.

“We learned how trains function and all the careers associated with BART,” said junior Kardel Howard.

The trip was organized by BART and Kathryn Hall, who heads the STEM program at McClymonds.

Advanced Mack STEM Students Make Their Own “Whips” at the Crucible

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Edward Ainsworth, a junior,  works with Kathryn Hall to sand old paint off his bicycle

Story and photo by Anthony Beron

McClymonds engineering students welded, grinded, sanded, assembled, improvised and painted. Then they learned a lesson about the weather: as paint was sprayed on their home-made bikes at the Crucible in West Oakland, they realized that the cold weather can’t be tamed as easily as steel can be bent into shape.

The paint cracked, creating an unusually  jagged pattern. David Wright, one of the Crucible’s volunteers, complimented the design, calling it “crackin.”

“It looks really cool,” acquiesced engineering teacher Kathryn Hall, who had arranged for the Crucible staff to help her advanced engineering students build bicycles from scratch.

They met five times over the semester.

Students learned how to weld, paint and grind metal during the workshop in a hands-on manner during the five day-long course that was held over a period of five weeks, describing it as fun and challenging. Several students were able to present their own creations last weekend, earning an increased letter grade in extra credit for their engineering class.

They reused old bicycle parts, which ranged from cracked tubes to handlebars to rusted gears and drive-trains. They were then repaired and reassembled into ride-able recycled art, with nuances of accumulated pitch and worn paint.

Despite the alleged hands-on aspect of the course, several instructors complained of students not doing enough of their own work on their projects.

“Come on guys, you can’t have us do all this work that’s supposed to be done by you!” said a disgruntled Sudhu Tewari to Justin Gilreath and Issac Ramirez, a Mack senior and junior, respectively, for not completing an important weld.

When Mack engineering teacher Hall tried to take a ride with another student in the Gilreath-Ramirez designed cart connected to a bicycle, a weld failed when the joint that connected both pieces snapped. The bike, a tandem wheeler cart attached to a repainted and donated mountain bicycle, collapsed.

Engineers with Swagg: the New Mack Look

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by Kardel Howard

McClymonds has a new class — engineering.  That means new toys, new tools, and new equipment that students can play with in their newly renovated $60,000 classroom, according to Lynn Baliff, educational consultant.

The new improvements start with the backpacks that were distributed to the Principles of Engineering class. The backpack doubles as a solar-powered cell-phone charger.  Its solar panel is sewn into the front of the backpack, and when placed under sunlight, absorbs the energy and transfers that to its solar-charged battery.  A USB cord plugs into the charged battery while the other side plugs into the phone; then it charges.

Other equipment includes a “master computer” that allows the teacher to monitor all the computer activity in the classroom.

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The engineering class also has a 3D printers that turns  models that are made on the computer to become a physical form. The 3D printer creates the model onto the platform by melting plastic filaments into a shape, and keeps tracing the model until it is no longer amorphous.

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“The class is advancing,” said Katherine Hall, engineering and math teacher.  In addition to the introductory course, Hall also added an advanced engineering course, Principles of Engineering.

“Next year,” she added, “there will be a third course for seniors.”

The engineering course counts as an elective and has a curriculum that encourages students to use their creativity and think more critically in using their mathematical abilities to solve equations.

There are 20 students total enrolled in the Intro to Engineering class and 15 in the Principles of Engineering class.  Students like Kelton Runnels, a junior, enjoy the new STEM curriculum. ” I believe this engineering class is now opening a lot more doors for us than sports,” says Runnels.

As he sees it, McClymonds is turning over a new leaf.

Tradition, sports bring freshmen to McClymonds

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More studious? Freshman Alaydrianna Jones hunkers down in the library.

Photo By Jasmine Moody

by Anastasia Walton

They’re not the targets of balloons full of honey and feathers.  Instead, praise is heaped on them.  So far.

The new freshman class at McClymonds is larger than last year’s, more committed to academics (and sports) and punctual, according to teachers and administrators.

 “For freshmen,  they have a great habit of being on time, but what I need to see is more focus and less immaturity,” said PE teacher Jeremy Namkung.

There are  90 freshman at McClymonds this year, 10 more freshman than last year, says principal Tinisha Hamberlin.  A small group of 25 freshman who had to  attend summer school at McClymonds as eighth graders got an early feel for the “School of Champions.”

The reasons for enrolling at McClymonds range from family tradition to excellence in sports. Although McClymonds has a stronger STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, it was not an apparent factor for students in choosing McClymonds, says Katherine Hall, STEM teacher.

“I chose to come to Mack because it’s close to home and it has the best sports records,” said Rayshawn Lawrence, who attended Westlake Middle School and plans to play football as a Warrior.

For some, tradition goes back several generations. “So far I like Mack, it is not as bad as people try to make it seem,” said Tonisha  Smith, who attended Westlake Middle School last year, “I came to Mack because my grandmother came here.”

For others it was a matter of logistics, mainly commuting. “I had no choice in whether or not I was attending Mack or not. My mom made me come here since it was close to home, but so far I really love all my new teachers and the new friends I have made here, ” said Tatyana Jones.

Freshmen enthusiasm has spread to those who work with them. Head of security Donald Mann  said that he has to talk to 85% of the freshman class about adjusting to the demands of high school. He says this is not unusual because freshman are used to their middle school’s immature ways. He labeled this class  “one of the best freshman classes I’ve seen in 15 years.”

 

Winning at Mack: Will STEM provide the academic answer?

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by Anthony Beron

It was a cheerleading event of sorts, but the team was a new academic specialty at McClymonds — STEM or Science Technology Engineering and Math.

On Tuesday night, about 80 people, including parents, students, administrators and representatives from Chevron and Project Lead The Way, met to celebrate the opening of McClymonds Project Lead the Way STEM project.

“This isn’t about making them [students] scientists or engineers, but making them critical thinkers and enhancing their life,” said math and STEM teacher Kat Hall, who taught the school’s first course this year.

“I’m certain that this class and academy will prepare our students for success,” said Colleen Piper, Spanish teacher.

With enthusiasm, principal Kevin Taylor talked about visiting STEM programs in Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, Petaluma, and Piedmont only to create  “a Mack version of it.” The school partnered with Chevron for funding and with Project Lead The Way for materials and teacher training.

“I love one thing more than anything else and that is winning” said Taylor.

The expectation, he said, was that STEM would be a winning strategy for McClymonds, injecting creativity in the math and science curriculum and preparing students for the global workplace, a concept that PLTW’s Duane Crum emphasized in his remarks.”These kids can do the job if we pay for training; these jobs will fuel the California economy,” said Crum.

Hall talked about her course, explaining that she tried to spur her students with instant challenges, especially since there were no computers at the beginning of the year.

In one challenge, said student Kardel Howard, “we had to use five different pieces to make a cube. It was the most difficult and most creative project this year.”

Chevron specialist Janet Auer presented Hall with a certificate for a 3D printer. She did not specify the amount that Chevron is donating to McClymonds for the STEM program.

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Epochal STEM Meeting: How Will Mack Students Benefit?

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by Anthony Beron

Behold, the 12-inch, green and grey robot, heralding change at McClymonds High School.

The floors of 226 were waxed, the equipment shined, the bright posters hung as McClymonds prepared to kick off its new STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) curriculum at a meeting tomorrow at 5:30pm in the Malcolm X room on the 2nd floor.

“This program is supposed to enhance engineering learning by providing hand-on experiences,” said Kathryn Hall, engineering and math teacher at McClymonds, about the program developed by Project Lead The Way.

Hall has been teaching a STEM elective at McClymonds this year. Kardel Howard, a sophomore (who will be there tomorrow) said that he enjoys the computer work, which helps him learn about himself. “Our teacher is not yet able to answer all our questions, but that’ll change,” he added.

In addition to students taking the STEM class, speakers are to include Principal Kevin Taylor, Oakland superintendent Tony Smith, Janet Auer from Chevron Global Partnerships and Programs, and Duane Crum of Project Lead The Way.

“I’m hoping that in the next couple to years, people will be hearing about our engineering and robotics programs,” principal Kevin Taylor told The Oakland Tribune.

On its website, Project Lead The Way says its curriculum reaches 500,000 students in over 4,700 schools in 50 states.

Robert Boege , executive director of Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America, told macksmack that West Oakland was selected after U.S. News and other media groups identified those schools that needed STEM the most. “The future economy will be dependent on our youth,” he added.

Chevron partnered to provide funding to support the program, which will be launched in three schools in West Oakland, Martin Luther King elementary school, West Oakland Middle School and McClymonds, creating a “West Oakland STEM education pipeline,” said Hall.